Total War studio plans for 90 Metacritic throughout development

Tuesday, 1 May 2012 06:05 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The Creative Assembly takes a suitably strategic approach to Matacritic, the industry’s increasingly dominant success metric.

Speaking to Gamasutra, studio director Tim Heaton explained that The Creative Assembly keeps Metacritic in mind from the get go.

“You know, every step of the way – from the beginning to the end – we’re talking about a 90% Metacritic,” he said. “That’s our goal. That’s what we tell Sega. And we communicate that through graphs, basically, of where we think we are.”

Heaton said the team regularly holds ‘Metacritic analysis” sessions.

“We will break those features down into subsets, and we both look at it from a player’s point of view, and a reviewer’s point of view, and we’ll weigh certain features as to how we see players and reviewers look at them, and they’ll build up to a 100 percent score, and then we’ll judge where we feel we are on those individual feature sets, and see the momentum on those and the velocity on those, too.”

This kind of proactive planning helps avoid disappointment further down the track, as Heaton said the team will unflinchingly drop content that doesn’t meet its standards.

“If we see one flat line and it’s not where we want it to be, we then will cut it. We’ll cut it really late in the day,” he said.

“I think teams are really scared about doing 90 percent of the work and then cutting it. It’s kind of like, ‘Well, it’s nearly finished; I’ve done all the work. Please don’t cut it. I’m sure I can make it better.’ And we’re fairly brutal on that.”

The Creative Assembly holds a 76 total average on Metacritic, with several scors in the 80s and 90s skewed by the poor performance of Stormrise. Its latest core release is the stand alone Shogun 2 expansion, Fall of the Samurai.